The process of putting your life into order with a beginning, middle, and end forces you to see cause and effect.
– Catherine Burns
Thursday, I got just about one of the best message I’ve ever received from a student. Freda was in my senior Storytelling class last year. Along with the rest of the class, she participated in our weekly story slams where students were randomly selected to tell a story in front of the rest of the class without notes. The stories had to be true and in the first person.
For one of her stories, Freda told us about the one and only time she’d bullied another student.
I remember thinking at the time how amazing it was any time a student felt free to open up and share part of themselves that might not otherwise be revealed. Those were the moments where I felt like I’d stumbled on something right.
Freda’s note today gave me that feeling again and reminded me those moments in the classroom were ripples that are still moving across my kids’ lives though we aren’t with each other everyday.
Here is Freda’s note in all its informal online missive parlance:
Mr. Chase. I have to tell you something. Remember Jermy? The kid I did my story slam about? He friend requested me. I apologized. He said he had wanted to send me a request for years and was worried I’d forgotten about him. I can’t believe it, how could I forget that? I told him that I’d never forgot it and regretted it for like… my whole life, and how I did a school project thingy on it and so, he asked for my number, and he called me up and he was crying, and I was crying and like… I’m just… I’m glad we had that assignment, and I feel so… lucky that I had a chance to tell everyone in class, and even more lucky that I was given a second chance to apologize… and… I guess… I never believed in fate before… but I might now… sounds corny but whatever… So yeah, I just felt compelled to tell you, right now. Thank you for being a great teacher, I love you.
In moments like these, it’s hard not to miss the classroom terribly.